Things to keep in mind while planning a family trip to Europe.
Planning a family vacation to Europe may be glittered with brilliant hopes of days basking in the Mediterranean sun, perusing Parisian art galleries, or taking a peek at Germany’s “Disney castle,” Neuschwanstein. However, touring through Europe with children in tow, will require a few more provisions and intuitive initiatives than visiting with adults.
To begin your trip planning, look for places of interest to your kids – places that they have been learning about in school, in their summer reading or places that they have seen on TV. For example, what child hasn’t read Harry Potter?
Most children and adolescents are captivated by this wizard’s stories and escapades. Did you know that your children can “live the legends” of King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Braveheart, Robin Hood, the Loch Ness Monster and Harry Potter while exploring the United Kingdom through the lens of each of these notorious characters? How about venturing to a medieval castle nestled in a “Sherwood-like” forest, like England’s Warwick castle. Or take a trip back in time while touring Ireland’s Bunratty castle and folkpark, complete with medieval dinner and “preserved” 18th century town. The Loch Ness, located just outside of Inverness offers boat tours across the dark, murky waters of the infamous Loch Ness, for those travelers hoping for a quick peek at Nessie, the long-lost resident of the loch. The United Kingdom is also known for horse trekking tours, accommodating all levels of horsemanship. These tours will take you through some of the country’s most scenic glens and historic sites. Ireland also offers horse-drawn caravan tours that take families’ “gypsy-style” through the best of Ireland.
Mainland Europe also offers inviting sights for the whole family. Consider day-tripping through Germany’s castle-country. Many of Europe’s finest castles are nestled in the mountains and valleys of Germany. Children seem to love the magical, fairy-tale charm of medieval castles. Top castle sites in Germany for children include: Neuschwanstein, secluded in the Bavarian region; Burg Eltz and Marksburg Castle both reside in Germany’s famed Rhine River Valley. France offers many options for family-friendly biking tours through the varied French countryside, in addition to beautiful camping sites. The Disneyland Paris is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. Italian beaches beckon kids of all ages to come enjoy the waves and sun. Italy also hosts many other favorites like: fancy sport cars, gelato, fun pastas, castles, gondolas and rich cultural history.
For a chilly excursion, consider taking the family to Sweden’s famous “Ice Hotel”- a hotel structure that is rebuilt every year using 10,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow! Hotel guests sleep on ice beds with sleeping bags and reindeer skins provided for warmth. All of the basic necessities are provided in this novel hotel room.
There are also family-friendly resorts peppered all over Europe. These may be the best option for families hoping to base out of one spot, while exploring a few different sights in the region. This method allows for a family to maximize their time, by minimizing their packing/unpacking – hotel-hopping productions.
Little tips to keep in mind when traveling with kids. Go slow. The family that tries to see all of Europe on a whirlwind, seven-day tour is bound to come up feeling as though they missed a few things, not to mention they will be exhausted. Involve your kids in the trip planning process by renting destination videos or DVDs. Learn a few key phrases for the countries you will be touring, and watch your kids seek chances to try conversing in a foreign tongue. Keep a travel journal for your little ones to record their trip highlights. Engage your children in the new culture, helping them to appreciate what each culture has to offer and what they can learn from it. Keep chewing gum handy for those long international flights to help with ear-popping. Save a special game or treat for the long flight home – kids love surprises!